191 Chrystie St
May 6 - June 10
Extrusion grinds food down to tiny pellets and presses it into shapes. It is the manufacturing process that gives Cheetos and Doritos their addicting uniformity. The term is also used to describe the rendering of three-dimensional images, and for Borna Sammak extrusion’s double meaning gives a sense of digital matter’s substance. Pixels are a friable mass, dragged into form by the artist’s mouse. An untitled video on view here (all works cited, 2012) portrays a skeletal tower, a model of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and dripping polyps of processed cheese coalescing and collapsing amid a field of Sammak’s own earlier abstract animations. Elsewhere in the show, a tower of clear plastic trash cans holds tiers of crushed Doritos, and a motley pile of dust from the snacks lines the top of a wooden panel painted nacho orange (both Not Yet Titled). The connection between pixels and junk food is made explicit in Cheeto, as Investigated by Expensive Microscope, a video borrowed from a scientist acquaintance, where points of color illuminate the contours of a Cheeto’s airy depths.
Sammak’s linkage of extruded snacks to digital images is more than a formal conceit. It expresses an experience of the body. To eat is to consume a series of identical food units alone at night at a computer, face lit by the screen’s glow, fingers brightened by tangy orange dust. Snacks and images alike are digested and replaced by more of the same; body and machine merge in a whole that floats over a forgotten nature. This view of the world is underscored here by the rough physicality of the technical apparatus. The monitor displaying the untitled video leans against the wall, cushioned at its point of touch by a boogie board.
In the installation LAZY, the animated letters AZ are an appendage of urine-colored graffiti on the wall beneath the screen. Cords are not primly tucked away; they make flaccid arcs on the wall and cross the floor, stretching from all the monitors to meet at a single outlet. Everything on view is viscerally connected by one electric digestive tract.